Triggering FOMO

Fear Of Missing Out.

If you’ve ever been influenced by some type of scarcity play… a hard deadline, a timer, a limited amount of product available… you’ve probably been influenced by FOMO.

Sometimes, the scarcity play is real.

But usually, it’s contrived.

So when marketers open up memberships once or twice a year, there’s no logistical reason why enrolment can’t occur ongoing.

They’re doing it because people put things off, like making decisions.

So to counter that natural inclination of people, FOMO is introduced.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t like contrived FOMO. It feels kinda icky to me.

It works like gangbusters, but it feels kinda crappy when it’s used on you, doesn’t it?

However, there are other ways of introducing FOMO.

One way is to introduce some sort of exclusivity.

For instance, people love clubs and secret societies. 

Think back to your childhood. Remember the forts and treehouses and secret places in the woods you built along with “No Girls Allowed” signs?

Exclusivity is not just for kids.

As adults, nothing attracts attention like some exclusivity.

Being part of a special club is an amazing FOMO motivation.

And it makes complete sense if you think about it.

You can invoke the exclusivity FOMO for all kinds of things, not just membership offers.

For instance, if you’re selling a supplement, create the impression of an exclusive club of people who have benefited from it.

“I encourage you to join the hundreds of lucky people, just like you, who have experienced the lasting relief only PainAway has to offer.”

It makes people feel special. People want to feel included.

And of course, they don’t want to miss out.

You can get rather elitist about it, if you want.

The way I do this is I create an imaginary “velvet rope.”

Look at it this way: 

I’m sure you’ve been in situations where an usher or bouncer allows only certain people into a venue.

Maybe they’re on a VIP list. Maybe they’ve paid for special privileges. Or maybe they’re a certain sex or look a certain way.

If you’re behind the rope waiting to get in, THAT’S the feeling we’re trying to convey.

Words like “special”, “elite” or “private” help trigger their FOMO gene and motivate them to sign up.

That kind of FOMO has much more integrity to me, than a countdown timer.

Listen, I don’t care if the FOMO devices you use are contrived or not.

That’s not my call.

However, I encourage you to test them. Test various FOMO tactics and see if they work for you.

I think you’ll be amazed at the response you get. It’s almost like they’re salivating

It gets worse…

One of the more useful phrases in a copywriting toolbox is…

“It gets worse.”

If you see any of my sales letters or videos, you’ll notice I use this phrase almost all the time.

Why is it so useful?

Think of your copy as an emotional rollercoaster ride.

Of course, you start off with something impressionable.

Something that gets their attention.

From there, where do you go?

Well, according to AIDA, the next thing to do is build some interest.

So how do you do that?

There are multiple ways. And after you’ve exhausted the interest building and BEFORE you start building desire, emotionally it’s time to drop the bomb:

“It gets worse.”

Done right, your reader’s heart drops and their eyes are riveted to whatever you have to say next.

This is exactly what you want.

And all you have to do, is make sure whatever you say next delivers on the implicit promise of it being really bad.

Now is there another way to use this phrase?

Yes and it’s even better. You can use it in your calls to action.

Next time you write a call to action, try this phrase:

“If You Don’t Do Anything, It Just Gets Worse.”

What you’re doing is anticipating them considering doing nothing.

They’re going down the road of ambivalence.

So you’ve got to shut that line of thinking down.

So you drop the bomb and reveal the consequences of doing nothing.

For instance:

“Please don’t ignore the subtle signs of diabetes. If you do, it just gets worse. You start to experience painful neuropathy… and foot ulcers… and if you really ignore it, you might have to someday amputate a foot or a leg…”

Now that’s a little over the top, but you get the idea.

“It gets worse” creates that emotional “Uh oh”… they’re waiting for the other foot to drop.

So try it next time and see what happens in terms of conversions.

And if you don’t, it just gets worse…


Talk soon,


Dark Sentences

Some copywriters are masters in the art of using… the bible calls them… dark sentences.

These copywriters are masters at hypnosis and NLP.

They’re more than adept at applying cognitive biases.

They’ve memorized Cialdini’s “Influence.”

Yet they still can’t close the deal.


Because they’ve forgotten on of the most important rules in copywriting…

To write like you talk.

No they’d rather impress you with their linguistic wordplay.

By now, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this.

Did you catch that little embedded command “Buy now”?

Did you also catch the inception “You’re probably wondering…”?

It’s stupid, I know. I couldn’t help myself.

(Yikes, I did it again. Now I’m getting carried away. I’ll stop, I promise.)

But you do see how weird it is, right?

Personally, I prefer to have a meaningful conversation with someone who’s in the market for what I have to offer.

That’s how I sell on paper.

Sure I know all that stuff. I’m “certified” in all these persuasion technologies ten ways from Sunday.

But I have to admit, when I write copy using “dark sentences,” I don’t know about you, but…

I always feel a little bit “icky.”

Sure, I’m all for optimization. But if I have to use covert language to get my point across?

These days, I’ll pass.

I want people to buy for their reasons, not mine.

I want them to come to the right conclusion without having to rely on “dark sentences.”

If that squeezes me out of a deal or two, so be it.

I have to sleep at night.

Dark Sentences Revisited

I take back what I said about using dark sentences.

There is ONE SENTENCE, a dark sentence if you will, that I do embrace:

“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.” – Blair Warren

I don’t know if he had a brain fart or what, but from a copywriting perspective, that one sentence to me is a work of art.

As a copywriting principle, I use it constantly. Especially when putting together ClickBank offers.

It speaks to what’s at the core that drives people to make a decision.

If you’ve gotten an “Aha!” by just reading it, my email served its purpose today.

Till next time,


P.S. If you want to find the report which explains that sentence in detail, go here:


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